Brandon's Notepad

August 9, 2016

The Energy Bus

ShortURL: http://wp.me/pb7U7-1Ue


The Energy Bus This is a short review of The Energy Bus, written by Jon Gordon.

The Energy Bus is a fictional story about a man named George whose life seems to be coming apart at the seams. His performance is being scrutinized at work, his wife is disenchanted with him as a husband, and to top it off, he leaves for work one morning only to find that his car has a flat tire. With no spare and no ride, George is forced to take the bus. This is perhaps the best thing to ever happen to him, for on the bus he meets Joy, the bus driver, and her band of merry passengers who present to George a new perspective on life. George undergoes a miraculous transformation and gets his life back on track.

Though a bit longer than the traditional fable, this story was written to teach a series of lessons about personal happiness, effectiveness, and success. Through the character of George, the reader is reminded that he is the driver of his own bus and is in full control of powering and steering the vehicle, as well as being responsible for the passengers he brings on board. The rules of the bus, established by Joy, provide the basis for having a fun and meaningful ride. The bus, of course, is a metaphor for one’s life. The Ten Rules for the Ride of Your Life can easily be found online, and are even provided in printable poster format by the publisher.

I was introduced to this book as part of a corporate seminar led by ethics expert and motivational speaker, Dr. Paul Voss. The seminar focused on lessons from this and about four other books. From the title, I was concerned that the book was steeped in New Age teachings on how to channel psychic energy in the workplace. Dr. Voss reassured us that the book was not about that at all, just about how our attitudes heavily influence our performance within our work community, so I went along with it. While Voss’ interpretation was certainly valid and my fear was more amplified than what the text warranted, the book did make at least one explicit mention of the Law of Attraction, a pinnacle of New Age ideas prevalent in works such as A Course in Miracles. The author didn’t harp on this much at all, so if you discount the New Age concept of energy and want to read in the context of simply having a positive attitude (as Dr. Voss advocated), the story still works.

The book definitely made an impression on my colleagues, some more than others. Rule #6, “No Energy Vampires Allowed” has been particularly popular around the office. In addition to hiring Dr. Voss to discuss the text to us, the company also purchased some promotional materials for the employees, including some postcard-size versions of the poster linked above, and some smaller cards (approx. 2″x3″) that we were invited to hand out to others or to post in our cubicles as reminders of the lessons contained in the book. In all, as a source of workplace motivation, the seminar and the book were quite successful.


June 4, 2013

Conversations With God, Book 1, Chapter 3

Home > My Research > Eastern Philosophy & New Age > Conversations With God > Book 1, Chapter 3


Overview

I nicknamed this chapter The Book of Life, because life is the central theme. And anyone who has read Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four will appreciate how cheeky I’m being.

Summary

Walsch has a lot of questions for his God. The chapter begins with a litany of them. At the top, the first question deals with success, “When will my life finally take off?” (p. 71) Since the remainder of the chapter deals with this question, and other chapters undoubtedly deal with some of the others, the list won’t be enumerated here. The short answer is that since we (supposedly) create our own realities, the only thing coming between us and success is ourselves.

Targeting Christianity. There is a significant amount of word play in the chapter used to appeal to Christians. First, he states that God’s Laws of the universe cannot be violated or ignored, that the laws are simply “the way things work” and “you cannot operate outside of [them].” (p.73) In this sense, God’s laws are like the laws of physics. So, by the simple act of existing, we are partners with God, which he refers to as the eternal covenant, to borrow from the words of Jesus at the Last Supper (Mk 14:24) and of the Epistle to the Hebrews (13:20). He states, “My promise to you is to always give you what you ask. Your promise is to ask; to understand the process of the asking and the answering.” (p. 73) He later calls this partnership “a holy communion”. (p. 75) “The promise of God is that you are His son. Her offspring. Its likeness. His equal.” (p. 75)

Walsch’s God then redefines the Trinity. This is a mystery of the Christian faith, that the One God exists in Three Persons. Walsch uses several groupings of words, three words in each group, to convince the reader that he is like God…that he is God. Consider the following: body/mind/spirit; physical/nonphysical/metaphysical; conscious/subconscious/superconconscious; id/ego/superego; energy/matter/antimatter; mind/heart/soul; etc. (p.73) One word in each of these groups represents the soul or spirit, and the soul is the aggregation of all feelings one has experienced. In other words, the soul creates itself by having experiences. Creation takes three steps: thought (an idea), word (expression of an idea), and action (energy released). (p. 74)

Mind Over Matter. Returning to the topic of success, all a man must do to change his circumstances is to think differently, change the idea from what it is to the grandest vision, and thoughts, words, and actions will follow to create a new reality. “Think, speak, and act as the God You Are.” (p. 76) This is a cyclic method: new thoughts, better words and better actions are always necessary to maintain alignment with the vision. (p. 78) God warns that doing so is to risk being called crazy and charged with blasphemy, even crucified (implying that this happened to Jesus because he was a master of New Age thought). (p. 76) He emphasizes that all conditions are temporary, and thus, there is no use in making value judgments about them. (p.79)

Life & Death. But this chapter is not really about success. In a way, Walsch is correct: success is what you define it to be and one can choose to be happy in current conditions, but the discussion changes topic when Walsch challenges his God on how one cannot simply will oneself to overcome a terminal disease. The dialogue pivots on the notion that one’s faith can move mountains (Mt 17:20; Mt 21:21-22; 1 Cor 13:2). God tells Walsch:

“The person who has the ‘faith to move mountains,’ and dies six weeks later, has moved mountains for six weeks. That may have been enough for him. He may have decided, on the last hour of the last day, ‘Okay, I’ve had enough. I’m ready to go on now to another adventure.’ You may not have known of that decision, because he may not have told you…he may have made [it] quite a bit earlier…and not have told you [or] anyone.” (p. 80)

One might also draw a correlation between this excerpt and the words of St. Paul in his epistle to the Philippians:

20 For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. 21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 22 But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. 23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. 24 But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. (Phil 1:20-24 NIV)

To put it plainly, Paul believes that martyrdom would be of personal benefit because he would then be with Christ in Heaven, but out of charity for others, he notes that dying would prevent him from working directly toward the conversion and betterment of souls. I have actually heard people use this passage to defend a claim that Paul was in a state of despair, even suicidal, during his imprisonment. Walsch continues:

“You have created a society in which it is very not okay to want to die…but there are many situations in which death is preferable to life[.] […] The entire medical profession is trained to keep people alive, rather than keeping people comfortable so that they can die with dignity. […] The greatest gift you can give the dying is to let them die in peace[.] ” (pp. 80-81)

According to Walsch’s God, the soul decides when to die. Motivated by their own interests, both the mind and the body selfishly resist. The soul will prevail, because its purpose (yes, here’s the sole purpose/soul purpose pun) is to evolve and it does not care about the furtherance of the mind and body. He goes on:

“The soul is clear that there is no great tragedy involved in leaving the body. In many ways, the tragedy is being in the body.” (p. 82)

Again, one might turn to Paul in another letter:

6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. (2 Cor 5:6-9 NIV)

This certainly sounds like Paul is of like mind, that death can better than life; however, the line that follows makes clear that Christian theology is not relativistic and that there is not another ‘adventure’, but judgment:

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Cor 5:10 NIV)

Where does this ultimately lead? In a word, suicide. Walsch’s message in this chapter is the same as that found in A Course in Miracles, the text that led former New Age teacher Sharon Lee Giganti to advise a depressed young friend that suicide is not wrong, that her family would not be devastated so long as she projected positive thoughts. The friend took that advice. “Every death is a suicide” is a common phrase found in ACIM and related rhetoric, rooted in the belief that the soul decides when to move on to a new reality. And we’re not just talking about the old-fashioned kind of suicide here. This line of thought directly supports so-called “end of life” rights, that is to say assisted suicide.

Suicide is very romantic, don’t you think? Perhaps noble, honorable? Shakespeare would agree. Consider Romeo and Juliet, Lady Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, and Othello. Indeed, suicide is all-too-often glorified in fiction, and sometimes even in real life. The suicide of singer Kurt Cobain in 1994 caused a widespread scare that many copycat suicides would follow. Of course, suicide is a whole lot easier to swallow (sometimes literally) if there is no fear of the consequences…or a denial that there will be any real consequences at all. It is the ultimate pride. It is saying, “Not thy will, Lord, but mine.” And if holding the belief that one’s own self is God, then how can any path be wrong.

Against Church Teaching. Toward the end of the chapter, Walsch’s God takes a swing at several teachings of the Catholic Church in particular. The first is self-denial. “Somewhere you’ve come across the idea that to deny yourself joy is Godly — that not to celebrate life is heavenly.” (p. 82) He aims to make anyone who faithfully celebrates the season of Lent feel like a fool. But self-denial is more than just an expression of sorrow for one’s own sins (superficial or not). Practicing self-denial on a regular basis trains the soul for sacrifice, teaching it how to put the needs of others ahead of one’s own. Humility fosters charity. It seems obvious that Walsch has either never encountered genuine Christian love, or refuses to recognize it when he does.

From there, Walsch’s God reiterates that the soul’s desire is not to know, but to feel, and he encourages Walsch to experience all that he can. “The purpose of the human soul is to experience all of it — so that it can be all of it.” (p. 83) Unity in pure love is the ultimate goal. He draws an analogy between love’s relationship to emotion and the properties of white light.

“Many think that white is the absence of color[, but] it is the inclusion of all color[, ] every other color that exists, combined. So, too, is love not the absence of an emotion (hatred, anger, lust, jealousy, covetousness), but the summation of all feeling. […] Thus, for the soul to experience perfect love, it must experience every human feeling. […] How can I forgive in another that which I have never experienced in Myself?” (p. 83)

With this he wipes away the concept of sin, attacking especially the Commandments and the Seven Cardinal Sins. In order to truly live, one must willfully commit those very grave acts of disobedience that the Church holds as deadly to a loving relationship with God. This teaching of Walsch’s God contradicts the Good News of Christ at its core.

Of course, Walsch’s God denies the existence of Satan (p. 85). To acknowledge it would be an admission that an objective reality exists. Instead, he teaches to accept all things, choosing the best from amongst them. [He does not use this passage, but this is eerily similar to St. Paul’s advice in 1 Th 5:21, to test all things and hold fast to what is good.]

Isn’t it interesting that you find nothing blasphemous about seeking to be like the devil, but seeking to be like God offends you. […] You’ve even created religions that tell you that you are born in sin […] in order to convince yourselves of your own evil. (p. 85)

From a Catholic perspective, this is nonsense, for what other Christian group concerns itself more with the imitation of Christ in one’s daily life (c.f. Thomas à Kempis). Actually, this is more a reproach of Protestant and Christian Fundamentalist teachings (i.e. Total Depravity doctrine, sin nature).

To help the reader choose to be God, Walsch’s God calls Walsch (and thus everyone vicariously) goodness, mercy, compassion, understanding, peace, joy, light, forgiveness, patience, strength, courage, a helper, a comforter, a teacher, the deepest wisdom, the highest truth, the greatest peace, and the greatest love. (pp. 86-87) This kind of language is traditionally used to describe God (in his three persons) in the Bible and other Christian literature.

Reincarnation. I noted in my summary of Chapter 1 that Walsch doesn’t embrace reincarnation explicitly, but there is another vague reference to it on page 84 when Walsch’s God states that it takes “many lifetimes” for the soul to fulfill its purpose.


May 22, 2013

Conversations With God, Book 1, Chapter 2

Home > My Research > Eastern Philosophy & New Age > Conversations With God > Book 1, Chapter 2


Overview

Building upon Chapter 1, a lengthy primer on New Age thought written to appeal to a Christian audience, Walsch employs logic in the second chapter to dismantle the reader’s faith (trust, or belief) in organized religion, traditional Christianity in particular. His logical constructs, however, are based on his own system, so the underlying assumption is that Walsch’s God is real, and that he is what he claims to be. It is popular in modern times to claim to be spiritual but not religious, and if this text hasn’t contributed directly to the popularity of this idea, it certainly benefits from it.

Summary

Walsch begins by expressing concern about the revelation he is receiving, that it doesn’t feel like it ought to feel, even stating explicitly that the words he is transcribing sound like blasphemy (i.e. grossly irreverent). God’s explanation is that these feelings are more or less the product of conditioning. People perpetuate a vision of God that is very narrow. This prevents them from seeing God in everything (i.e. pantheism), and thus, they miss much of his message. “What gave you the idea that God is only ‘reverent’?” God challenges. (p. 60)

Being all things, God is both one thing (e.g. hot, left) and its opposite (cold, right) simultaneously, giving preference to neither. “Everything is ‘acceptable’ in the sight of God,” he explains, “for how can God not accept that which is? To reject such a thing is to deny that it exists…and that is impossible.” (p. 61) As was explained in the first chapter, this negates a belief in sin altogether, for how can one disobey or act out against God if God has no absolute rules or expectations? Please recall that, according to Walsch’s God, the only purpose is to help God re-member through experience: “Evil is that which you call evil. Yet even that I love, for it is only through that which you call evil that you can know good…it is all relative. […] I do not love ‘good’ more than I love ‘bad’. Hitler went to Heaven. When you understand this, you will understand God.” (p. 61) Our values are not right or wrong, but only judgments prescribed by others in whom we trust. These values should only be retained as long as they are useful. (p. 66)

One primary purpose of this chapter is to shake that trust by instilling fear in the mind of the reader, paranoia that all of society has purposefully deceived you.

“Everything your heart experiences about God tells you that God is good. Everything your teachers teach you about God tells you that God is bad. Your heart tells you God is to be loved without fear. Your teachers tell you God is to be feared, for He is a vengeful God. You are to live in fear of God’s wrath [and] tremble in His presence. Your whole life through you are to fear the judgment of the Lord.” (p. 64)

In contrast, Walsch’s God does not want obedience at all, nor does he want worship or service, for these are the needs of men, not a deity.

The only sin is to choose not to experience, to accept the experience of others as our own and be satisfied with that, to deny our own experience in favor of what we’ve been told to think. He states that our happiness is the gauge of sin: “Only you can say of your life — ‘This is my creation (son), in which I am well pleased.'” (p. 62) This is a no-holds-barred approach to morality.

Walsch’s God promises that when one achieves total knowing (i.e. enlightenment, nirvana), one takes on the Five Attitudes of God (p. 65):

  • Joyful
  • Loving
  • Accepting
  • Blessing
  • Grateful

Being perfectly happy with the Self one has created, one has reached perfection.

At the end of the chapter, Walsch states that writing this dialogue makes him feel presumptuous, maybe a little crazy. His God attempts to extinguish these feelings by reminding him that the authors of the Bible were also mere men. In this discussion, Walsch’s God makes several misleading statements about Christianity:

  • He claims that, “Most of the New Testament writers never met or saw Jesus in their lives. They lived many years after Jesus left the Earth [and] wouldn’t have known [him] if they walked into him on the street.” (p. 67) Of the eight known authors, five were his Apostles (Matthew, John, Peter, James, Jude), and one met Jesus in a vision (Paul), leaving two who were associates of the Apostles and may or may not have actually known Jesus in the flesh (Mark and Luke).
  • He goes on to imply how the “churches” edited the writings of the original authors (both NT and OT) because the “Jesus Story” had power, and that a “High Council” approved the official version, which only contained revelations that weren’t “unhealthy” or “premature”. (p. 67) It is true that the OT books were originally passed on as oral tradition, and that some of the texts went through the redaction process. It is also true that the canon of Scripture was sealed (and confirmed as such) by the decision of several ecumenical councils of the Catholic Church. And it is also true that some texts were hidden away (apocrypha) because they were not considered inspired or were altogether heretical (e.g. the Gnostic Gospels — which is undoubtedly the specific texts Walsch would prefer in his Bible). However, there is no evidence that the (one) Church was trying to harness power. There is much more evidence based on extant copies that the Church was indeed fulfilling its mission to preserve Scripture. There is also little or no direct information regarding the selection process for establishing the canon (especially the NT), save that the selected Scriptures themselves do not conflict with each other when understood in the context of the Church’s teaching and the writings of the Early Church Fathers.
  • His God ensures that Walsch’s writings (the dialogue in which he is engaged) are indeed holy scripture, but that they are unlikely to be considered as such, because the language used is too casual and not (yet) outdated. It would not meet the expectations that people hold of what holy scripture is supposed to sound like.
  • To hear God reply to prayers, one must consider oneself worthy or deserving of dialogue with God. There is a fine line here between having faith and putting oneself on par with God.

December 17, 2012

Yoga

Home > My Research > Eastern Philosophy & New Age > Yoga


Many Christians denounce Yoga without a second thought, and with vehemence by Fundamentalist and conservative Protestant sects; but for some reason, the question as to whether or not it is appropriate for a Catholic to practice Yoga continues to circulate on forums and call-in radio shows. There is so much information on what Yoga is that I hesitate to attempt an assimilation here, at least at the time of this writing. For now, a list of articles I’ve read on the subject will have to suffice. My primary concern as I begin this research is the instruction of Yoga in the classroom, both public and private.


Articles

Wikipedia. Of course.

Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life (Vatican). Pontifical Council’s document on the New Age.

Yoga – Is it Permissable for Christians (EWTN). A good synopsis on the Church’s position on New Age practices, including Yoga. Many Christian former-practitioners argue that it is not possible to separate the positions from the philosophy.

School Yoga Tries to Avoid Religious Controversy (AP). The Encinitas Union School District in Encinitas, CA boasts the country’s most aggressive classroom Yoga program. Schools within the district are being sued for violating the religious freedom of the students.

To Yoga or not to Yoga. Patti Maguire Armstrong lays it on the line. Lots of good terms to Google later.

How Yoga Adversely Effects Our Children. Two key quotes from this article from The Voice Magazine are as follows. “According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, yoga is purely a religious discipline of the Hindu faith.” “These false prophets of New Age religions…key manipulators know that if they can influence the impressionable mind of a child, they can capture the soul of the adult.”

In Schools, Yoga Without the Spiritual (NYT). This article carries a neutral tone overall. Can you pick out the subtle hits of pantheism and indifferentism? According to the author, one ECUSA school does not object to the chanting in Sanskrit.

Why Yoga 4 Classrooms? Making Mindfulness and Yoga Part of the School Day. More an ad than an article, this instructor integrates Yoga stretches into the students’ daily routines (as opposed to dedicating a period of time for it). This makes it far more difficult for parents who object to request that their child(ren) “sit out” the exercise, and peer pressure will almost ensure that students will participate without much thought. The post included an open invitation to a workshop held at Christ Church on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. (ECUSA).

Yoga for Health (NCCAM). This page attempts to express the scientific values of Yoga. Other than stating that in its fullness Yoga includes meditation and the adoption of a philosophy, there is no mention of spiritual aspects or benefits of Yoga.

Why Are So Many Yoga Poses Named After Animals? One theory is that both animals and yoga bring happiness. I suspect there is some other reason rooted in Hinduism, but that is subject to research.

Simple Stretching
http://www.physioroom.com/prevention/stretching2.php
http://www.livestrong.com/stretching-exercises/


May 24, 2011

The Enneagram

Home > My Research > Eastern Philosophy & New Age > Enneagram


I hear a reference to the enneagram on occasion, so I thought I’d jot down a few notes about it.


The Figure

The enneagram is a nine-pointed figure inscribed in a circle. The points are labelled in the same way as a clock, but with nine at the top instead of twelve. Points 3,6 & 9 are connected, forming an equilateral triangle. A “web” is drawn by connecting the remaining points in the following order: 1,4,2,8,5,7,1.

Origin

The enneagram was introduced to Western thought by Russian psychologist and philosopher George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, who developed a mystical/spiritual way of self-development in the early twentieth century called the Fourth Way. This system teaches that man is not born with a soul, but can create one by moving to a state of higher consciousness.

Enneagram of Personality

Oscar Ichazo applied the enneagram to psychology, theorizing that one’s self-image, and thus personality, is centered on one of nine possible ego fixations within the psyche (resentment, flattery, vanity, melancholy, stinginess, cowardice, planning, vengence, indolence). The fixations can be organized and represented on the enneagram figure, becoming the Enneagram of Personality. Fixations are supported emotionally by passions and vices, and are subject to various temptations and fears.

Usage

This is a summary from the Enneagram Institute’s “How the Enneagram System Works” page. First, you must identify your basic personality type. The Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) questionnaire is one tool for doing so. The types are grouped into “centers” (“Feeling” is 2-4, “Thinking” is 5-7, and “Instinctive” is 8,9 & 1) and each center has a dominant emotion (shame, anxiety & anger/rage respecitively). You also have a wing type, one of the numbers next to the basic type on the circle, though there is disagreement amongst experts as to whether people have only one wing, two wings, or a dominant wing. There are also levels of development, movements between healthy, average, and unhealthy levels. As you approach health (growth or integration), you behave like (move toward) another personality type on the figure. Likewise, approaching an unhealthy state (stress or disintigration) means moving toward another type as well. These paths are defined by the “web” and “triangle” described above. The ultimate goal is to move around the enneagram, picking up the beneficial traits of each type along the way.

Links to Catholicism

Claudio Naranjo, Chilean psychiatrist and student of Ichazo, adapted the enneagram for Christian use and taught it to some Jesuit priests. Ironically, Jesuit priest Mitch Pacwa is one of the leading churchmen who oppose the enneagram and expose it for what it is. You can read this trascript of his that is a good, concise treatment of the enneagram and what it means to Catholics. Richard Rohr is a Franciscan friar and author who has written at least two books on how to use the Enneagram to bolster Christian spirituality. Finally, a good ‘short-course’ in the Enneagram and how it pertains to Catholicism has been published on the web by one Bruce Sabalaskey. It includes samples of deceptive vocalulary used by dissenters, and calls out the pantheistic and gnostic underpinnings.

April 28, 2011

Conversations With God, Book 1, Chapter 1

Home > My Research > Eastern Philosophy & New Age > Conversations With God > Book 1, Chapter 1


Table of Contents

First things first. This book has an index, but no table of contents, so, here it is:

Chapter 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Chapter 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Chapter 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
Chapter 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
Chapter 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
Chapter 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Chapter 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
Chapter 8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Chapter 9 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
Chapter 10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
Chapter 11 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
Chapter 12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
Chapter 13 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187
Chapter 14 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203

Overview

At fifty-eight pages, this is the longest chapter of the book. It is essentially a New Age primer and lays the groundwork for the rest of the book.

Premise & Style

Walsch opens the first chapter by explaining how he would vent his frustrations by writing letters to people that he never intended to send, expressing his real feelings about things. When he wrote to God one day, God answered by guiding his pen. The resulting dialogue, which now spans nine or more books, constitutes (purportedly) God’s divine revelation to Walsch of the truth regarding his nature. The tone of the book is Socratic.

New Age Concepts & Methods

Cleaning the slate. And, by that, I mean brainwashing. I wish I had a more charitable label for it, but I don’t. “Free your mind! Everything you’ve been told is a delusion (read: a lie). Think for yourself, man.” I purposely placed my findings about this method first to expose what we are dealing with. The main focus seems to be the elimination of Judeo-Christian tradition. It’s not subtle either! Consider the following:

“I [God] do not communicate by words alone. In fact, rarely do I do so. My most common form of communication is through feeling. Feeling is the language of the soul. […] In addition to feelings and thoughts, I also use the vehicle of experience as a grand communicator. And finally, when feelings and thoughts and experience all fail, I use words.” (p. 3)

The voice within is the loudest voice with which I speak, because it is the closest to you.” (p. 20)

A charismatic Christian and perhaps even one who has deep experience with meditative prayer may agree with this sentiment; however, Walsch continues (writing on behalf of God):

“Now the supreme irony here is that you have all placed so much importance on the Word of God, and so little on the experience.” (p. 4)

Walsch supplants Christ and Scripture (both referred to as the Word of God) with personal revelation, the ‘message of the moment’. Truth, therefore, becomes relative. Regarding the discernment of truth:

“Mine is always your Highest Thought, your Clearest Word, your Grandest Feeling. Anything less is from another source.” (p. 4)

There is no moral absolute at play here. These qualifiers are all relative comparisons of thoughts to thoughts, words to words, and feelings to feelings. Also, notice the capitalization of the words in that quote, elevating thought, word, and feeling to proper names, personifying them and giving them authority. This is bordering on the concept of pantheism, which is covered below, so let’s stay on track for this section.

The following are selections that I’ve isolated, carving away the fluff in between. Read as Walsch strips away the layers of moral authority. I’ll save the commentary for the end, because I think the text speaks adequately for itself.

“Many people choose to believe that God communicates in special ways and only with special people. This removes the mass of the people for hearing My message…and allows them to take someone else’s word for everything. […] By listening to what other people think they heard Me say, you don’t have to think at all.” (p. 6)

“It is far safer and much easier to accept the interpretation of others (even others who have lived 2,000 years ago) than seek to interpret the message you may very well be receiving in this moment now.” (p. 7)

“[Leaders, ministers, rabbis, priests, books and the Bible] are not authoritative sources.” (p. 8)

“All of this [teaching] violates everything you say you know about God, but this doesn’t matter. You live your illusion, and thus feel your fear, all out of your decision to doubt God. But what if you made a new decision? What then would be the result? I tell you this: you would live as the Buddha did. As Jesus did. As did every saint you have ever idolized.” (p. 15)

“[The reason why human behavior oscillates between love and fear] is found in the first lie…that God cannot be trusted; that God’s love cannot be depended upon; that God’s acceptance of you is conditional… Yet if you knew Who You Are – that you are the most magnificent…being God has ever created – you would never fear. […] And where did you get the idea of how much less than magnificent you are? From the only people whose word you would take on everything. From your mother and your father.” (pp. 16-17)

Do you feel detached yet? The text is designed to make it so. The obvious intention here is to subvert any and all authority that may contradict what Walsch is writing, and to reduce Christianity to a mythical representation of the truth that has been corrupted by man over time. It’s ironic that Walsch preaches that man should act out of love and not fear, yet he uses fear to draw the reader to his philosophy.

The Meaning of Life. Throughout the chapter, God reveals to Walsch that it was once everything, but that knowing of its existence wasn’t enough – God desired to experience itself.

“The one thing that All It Is knew is that there was nothing else. And so It could, and would, never know Itself from a reference point outside of Itself. […] It reasoned, quite correctly, that any portion of Itself would necessarily have to be less than the whole, and that if It thus simply divided Itself into portions, each portion, being less than the whole, could look back on the rest of Itself and see the magnificence.” (p. 23)

This sounds logical on the surface, but would God not have to have some bigger picture from which this conclusion could be drawn? If we are part of God, why do we have a self-preserving nature, one that resists the idea of dividing ourselves into portions just for the experience? Should we, too, cut off the nose to spite the face?

Notice, again, the capitalized titles, such as ‘All It Is’ and ‘Itself’, used to describe God. The God of Israel called himself ‘I Am’ and Jesus uses this phrase several times in the New Testament to reveal his divinity. The titles used in this text appeal to the reader’s prior understanding of Scripture (if any) and are then morphed (linguistically) to lead the reader into New Age thought.

The next morph follows on the top of the following page. Even though he already stated that God is everything and that there is nothing else, he then states, “Those who believe that God is All That Is and All That Is Not are [correct].” (p. 24) This concept isn’t completely illogical, but it is a subtle distinction. What is not subtle is the wholesale discount of the creator/creature relationship between God and man, being distinct persons. It also opens wide the door to moral relativism, eliminating ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and replacing them with ‘just is’. Christianity teaches that God is the author of life and that it was man’s sinful disobedience upon being tempted to do evil that brought death into the world; in contrast, this book expresses that one can choose to be good or evil and that one cannot experience being one without experience being the other. In other words, to be truly good, one must also know what it is like to be truly evil, making sin something to use to one’s advantage instead of something to avoid.

So, the general idea is that God divided itself so that it could experience itself through a process of remembering, that is to say, the parts of God (people especially included) remember through experiences, that they are part of the whole. He is careful to note that “You are not discovering yourself, but creating yourself anew. Seek, therefore, not to find out Who You Are, seek to determine Who You Want To Be.” (p. 20) By playing off of the title of the great ‘I Am’, the reader is made to feel that he is part of God, to be considered equal to God. Indeed, Walsch later explains what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God: “We are composed of the same stuff. We ARE the ‘same stuff’!”. (p. 26) He takes a clear creator-creature dichotomy, embodied in the creation stories, and states that which flatly opposes it, pantheism. But, remember, everything you’ve been taught is a lie, the truth contorted to fit the will of manipulative men. These men do not want you to know that we share in God’s “properties and abilities – including the ability to create physical reality out of thin air.” (p. 26) He goes on:

“For your thought…is creative, and your word is productive, and…together are magnificently effective in giving birth to your reality.” (p. 10)

“You will not have that for which you ask, nor can you have anything you want. This is because your very request is a statement of lack, and your [asking produces] that precise experience – wanting – in your reality.” (p.11)

“God is the observer, not the creator. […] God created you, in the image and likeness of God. You have created the rest, through the power God has given you. […] In this sense, your will for you is God’s will for you.” (p. 13)

God admits being impartial to outcomes, because the “ultimate” outcome is “assured”. (p. 14) This is, in a way, predestination, and another baited hook for all Christians (not just Calvinists) who hold to some definition of predestination.

Another implication here is that the Jewish and Christian people have created a fear-based reality, a theology based on a vengeful God who is assigned a role of angry parent, when instead, we should have created a love-based reality. (pp. 17-18) Now, “God is love” is the gospel message, and the Lord is often perceived in the Old Testament as a strict disciplinarian because man insisted on being stiff-necked and hard of heart. Walsch uses these ‘similarities’ to convince the reader that the real revelation of God has been contorted by Christians.

So, what does God want? Of Walsh? Of you and I? Evangelization, of course!

“…not only was the physical universe thus created, but the metaphysical universe as well…the second half of the Am/Not Am equation also exploded into an infinite number of units smaller than the whole. These energy units you would call spirits. …the sudden appearance – the sudden existence – of countless spirits in the Kingdom of Heaven”. (p.25)

“Upon entering the physical universe, you relinquished your remembrance of yourself. […] You are, have always been, and will always be, a divine part of the divine whole, a member of the body. That is why the act of rejoining the whole, of returning to God, is called remembrance. You actually choose to re-member Who You Really Are… Your job on Earth, therefore, is not to learn…but to re-member Who You Are…to remind others (that is, to re-mind them) so that they can re-member also. […] It is your sole purpose…your soul purpose.” (p.28)

“You will make of this dialogue a book, and you will render My words accessible to many people. It is part of your work.” (p. 29)

Yin Yang. According to the Wikipedia, yin yang is the concept “used to describe how polar or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn. Opposites thus only exist in relation to each other.” This is the primary basis for Walsch’s writings.

“I am the Great Unseen. …I am what I am not. It is from the am-notness that I come, and to it I always return.” (p. 9)

Love and Fear are the polar forces in Walsch’s philosophy.

“These are the two points – the Alpha and the Omega – which allow the system you call “relativity” to be. […] Every human thought, and every human action, is based in either love or fear.” (p. 15)

The primal thought behind any and all other thoughts and actions is called the “Sponsoring Thought”. Again, there is no absolute, only relativism. Note also the appeal to Christian terminology – this will be covered in more detail below. It is important to note now the role of man’s free will in this relativistic philosophy. Regarding this bipolar system:

“You have no choice about this, because there is nothing else from which to choose. But you have free choice about which of these to select.” (p. 19)

Going back to the idea that God created the universe by splitting into parts, we read:

“God knew that for love to exist…its exact opposite had to exist as well. […] In the moment fear existed, love could exist as a thing that could be experienced.” (p.24)

“Fear is the other end of love. It is the primal polarity. In creating the realm of the relative, I first created the opposite of My Self.” (p. 57)

So, why don’t we live in a perfect world? With yin yang, one must eventually give in to the other, and one only makes sense in relation to the other.

“I do not show My goodness by creating only what you call perfection all around you. I do not demonstrate My love by not allowing you to demonstrate yours.” (p.29)

“The Masters who have walked the planet are those who have discovered the secret of the relative world […they] have chosen only love. […] In every circumstance. Even as they were being killed, they loved their murderers.” (p. 57)

Karma. This is the circle of life, the chain of causes and effects in the universe. Borrowing now from Hinduism, Walsch’s embrace of karma is evidenced in the following excerpt:

“As for the so-called ‘accident’ — the truck coming around the bend, the brick falling from the sky — learn to greet each such incident as a small part of a larger mosaic. […] Accidents happen because they do. Certain elements of the life process have come together in a particular way at a particular time, with particular results — results which you choose to call unfortunate…yet they may not be unfortunate at all, given the agenda of your soul.” (p. 51)

Law of Attraction. Actually, Walsch’s God has defined three laws:

  1. Thought is creative
  2. Fear attracts like energy
  3. Love is all there is    (p. 56)

He does explain what appears to be a blatant logical error in that love is ultimately all there is in the absolute, and that the relative world was created for the experience; so the existence of fear is apparently temporary (temporal?). All three of these are major teachings in A Course in Miracles. (Though the third law above is usually stated “only Love is real”.)

Transcendance/Enlightenment. One of the major tenets of Eastern thought is that a greater state of being may always be achieved. Consider what Walsch says:

“Your world would not be in its present condition were you to have simply listened to your experience. The result of your not listening to your experience is that you keep re-living it, over and over again.” (p. 5)

Walsch doesn’t embrace reincarnation explicitly, at least not in Chapter 1, but the quote above seems to imply that it exists, perhaps something along the lines of the Buddhist “bhava” (“becoming”). In any case, Walsch states God’s intentions:

“This is the goal of your soul…its purpose…to fully realize itself while in the body…[and] this is My plan for you…My ideal…that I should become realized through you…that I might know my Self experientially.” (p. 43)

He goes on to explain how God defined the laws of the universe and how one can come to understand them:

“Begin by being still. Quiet the outer world, so that the inner world might bring you sight. This in-sight is what you seek, yet you cannot have it while you are so deeply concerned with your outer reality.” (p. 44)

Sound like Transcendental Meditation? It is. Here’s his mantra:

“If I do not go within I go without.” (p. 44)

As expected, transcending means losing all attachment to self, not to mention any other system of belief:

“Failing to believe in any of this means failure to believe in God. For belief in God produces belief in God’s greatest gift — unconditional love — and God’s greatest promise — unlimited potential.” (p . 44)

Couple transcendence with yin yang and the advice to the individual person is:

“…you cannot experience yourself as what you are until you’ve encountered what you are not.” (p. 27)

Put another way, you are enlightened about yourself when you understand the metaphysics about your existence, what you are in relation to what you are not, the bigger picture.

Omniscience

Christians believe that God is omniscient, all-knowing. According to this book, all people are part of God and share in his qualities; therefore, all people are also omniscient.

“The soul…knows all there is to know all the time. There’s nothing hidden to it, nothing unknown.” (p.22)

“In the absolute [i.e. traditional Christian thought] there is no experience, only knowing. Knowing is a divine state, yet the grandest joy is in being. Being is achieved only after experience. The evolution is this: knowing, experiencing, being. This is the Holy Trinity – the Triune that is God.” (pp 29-30)

He then explicitly relates the Father to knowing, the son to experiencing and the Holy Ghost to being and assures the reader that gender has nothing to do with it, claiming that the Father-Son relationship of Christianity is the same ‘metaphor’ as the mother-daughter relationship found in other religions. He reduces it down to “parent-offspring” and then “that-which-gives-rise-to and that-which-is-arisen”. (p.30)

Pantheism. God is in all things and all things are part of God. Walsch is blatant on this aspect as well. Remember, the idea is that God divided himself so that he could experience himself.

“…I have no form or shape you understand. I could adopt [one], but then everyone would assume that what they have seen is the one and only […] rather than a form or shape of God – one of many.” (p. 9)

Appeal to Scripture

Holy Scripture is often used by New Age authors to gain credibility. The New Age is a Western movement and nothing prohibits the incorporation of Christian or Jewish writings if their meanings can be easily manipulated.

For example, God (via Walsch’s pen) explains how prayers of gratitude – even for things that exist in your reality but that you haven’t yet received physically – is efficacious, unlike prayers of supplication that only manifest a state of wanting. When challenged by Walsch about the ability of being grateful for something that isn’t there yet, God replies:

“Faith. If you have but the faith of a mustard seed, you shall move mountains. You come to know it is there because I said it is there; because I said that, even before you ask, I shall have answered; because I said, and have said to you in every conceivable way, through every teacher you can name, and that whatsoever you shall choose, choosing it in My Name, so shall it be.” (p. 12)

The first part is taken directly from Matthew 17:20, and the part about God knowing your needs before you ask is from Matthew 6:8. Anyone familiar with the Bible, however, will know that the Lord does not discourage prayers of supplication at all, and even encourages them, making this appeal to Scripture highly suspect.

Let’s revisit the quote above from page fifteen in which Walsch refers to love and fear as the Alpha and the Omega. This phrase is used in the Book of Revelation to describe the person of Jesus as the beginning and the end, as these are the letters that mark the beginning and end of the Greek alphabet. (Rev 1:8, 21:6, 22:13) There is some sense of chronology here, at least from a human perspective, as expressed in the Nicene Creed, when we say that he was “eternally begotten of the Father before all worlds” and that his “kingdom shall have no end”. In a word, this describes eternity. Also, it states in the Bible that God is love, an absolute. In contrast, Walsch uses this phrase to describe the two relative emotions (yin yang), love and fear, felt by God in all persons (pantheism), from which one always flows to the other and back again. Walsch states that there was a beginning to this duality, as well as a sense of time, in what we call the Big Bang. (p. 24) Since God decided to divide into to parts for a purpose, so that it could experience itself (p. 26), it is logical to assume that there is an ultimate conclusion to this process wherein all of God is reunited, if not physically, then at least in consciousness. Walsch, too, states that God is love, which means that reunification, the movement of all thought and action to the love pole and away from the fear pole, would result in an end state of love. Nothing in this latter philosophy denotes an eternity, the symbolic meaning of the Alpha and the Omega, making this appeal to Scripture very weak (IMHO).

Speaking of the person of Jesus – that is to say, the second person of the Triune God – we’ve already exposed that Walsch’s God is pantheistic, so what about Jesus? Since ‘we are all part of God’, and since Jesus was indisputably a man, then he too, being of the same “stuff”, shared in God’s creative abilities. What set him apart was that Jesus “understood how to manipulate energy and matter, how to rearrange it, how to redistribute it, how to utterly control it. […] This is the knowledge of good and evil of which Adam and Eve partook.” (p. 55) Apparently, Jesus isn’t a part of God any more than you and I – he was just enlightened. Note how “the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen 3) is presented here as a literary device to explain how Jesus’ complete (read: perfect?) understanding of that duality gave him power over it.

Drawing again on Christian ideas, “It is the creation of this duality between love and its opposite [i.e. fear] which humans refer to in their various theologies as the birth of evil, the fall of Adam, the rebellion of Satan, and so forth.” (p. 24)

Christianity addresses the question, “Why did God allow sin (i.e. death, disease, destruction) to enter the world?” The answer is that man must have free will to express true love for God, and it was man’s free will that allowed him to sin. Walsch uses this answer as well, but changes its meaning a bit. “Your question infers that I choose these events, that it is my will and desire they should occur. Yet I do not will these things into being, I merely observe you doing so. And I do nothing to stop them, because to do so would be to thwart your will. That, in turn, would deprive you of the God experience, which is the experience you and I have chosen together.” (p. 32) The implication here is that man can also choose to end death and disaster because he is (part of) God. A Christian may also understand that it is man’s responses to such events that often reveal his love for God and his fellow man. Walsh tapdances on this notion when he writes, “There is perfection in the process – and all life arises out of choice.” (p. 47) This is particularly appealing to the Catholic mind that should already recognize the sanctifying effect of good works on a justified spirit (1 Cor 3:10-15).

St. John of the Cross described in a poem a period of loneliness and abandonment as the soul detaches itself from the things of the world on the journey to God. This is known as the Dark Night of the Soul. It has been suggested that even Jesus experienced this loneliness on the cross as he cited the opening lines of Psalm 22 (“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”). Walsh’s God tells a story about a little soul that wished to know itself, to whom God advised, “You must separate yourself from the rest of us…and then you must call upon yourself the darkness.” (p. 34) In the story, the little soul cries out, again from Psalm 22, “Father, Father, why hast thou forsaken me?” I do not know whether Walsch put this much research into his book, but this seems too coincidental to dismiss. The obvious difference is that the soul in St. John’s poem seeks God guided by the burning light (of Christ) within, whereas the little soul in Walsch’s story moves away from God and the light in order to find himself.

Not exactly the greatest commandment (Mt 22:40):

“I will do nothing for you that you will not do for your Self. That is the law and the prophets.” (p. 50)

What’s the power of prayer and communion with the divine?

“Individual consciousness is powerful enough. You can imagine what kind of creative energy is unleashed whenever two or more are gathered in My name.” (p. 35)

“You should now better understand how people of like mind can work together to create a favored reality. The phrase ‘Wherever two or more are gathered in My name’ becomes much more meaningful. …large communities or congregations often find miracle-producing power in combined thinking (or what some people call common prayer).” (p. 55)

What of sin? This is an obvious deviation from Christianity:

“Original sin is when your first thought about a thing is in error. That error is compounded when you have a second or third thought about a thing. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to inspire you to new understandings, which can free you from your mistakes.” (p. 38)

“What has been described as the fall of Adam was actually his upliftment…without it, the world of relativity would not exist. The act of Adam and Eve was not original sin, but, in truth, first blessing…in being the first to make a ‘wrong’ choice, [they] produced the possibility of making any choice at all.” (pp. 55-56)

This is incongruent with the Christian concept of free will, which God graced upon man from the start so that man could choose to love him. Walsch turns this on its ear and claims that the execution of a disobedient act by Adam is what makes free will a reality, for otherwise, man would simply be a mindless puppet living under the direction of an authoritarian god.

Another, very tricky quote comes from Genesis 11:6 (p. 45; the text used appearing to be a blend of the ESV and KJV). According to Holy Scripture, Man had become proud and inspired to reach Heaven on his own accord by building a tower. God was concerned about this so much that he confused their language to prevent the successful completion of the project. Walsch’s spin is that he uses this verse as a prooftext (out of context, of course) that man can, in fact, realize unlimited potential. This is tricky because at first blush, it does sound as though God recognizes man’s efforts as a true threat to his omnipotence. But man cannot reach Heaven by simply building a tower any more than he can create matter or life from nothing, without God and without the matter that God created from the start. The pride is the real concern, not the power. Modern science appears indeed to be unrestrained when God is removed from consideration, and it is practised without abandon at a great moral cost to mankind.

As a proof of karma, Walsch explains how Jesus “was not perturbed by the crucifixion, but expected it” and that he chose not to walk away from it, but “allowed himself to be crucified in order that he might stand as man’s eternal salvation.” (p. 52) Then comes a (quite butchered) paraphrase from John 10:34-39, which cites Psalm 82. The message is that God has revealed that all men are gods, which Walsch interprets pantheistically.

Emphasizing that he has explained the laws of the universe over and over again experientially throughout the ages, Walsch’s God laments that man does not listen to the teachers he sends, but kills them instead. This mimics Jesus’ response to the Pharisees’ warning (Lk 13:34), his chastisement of the Pharisees for their hypocrisy (Mt 23:37), and the Parable of the Tenants (Luke 20).

Word Play

I thought it might be useful to re-cap the word-play used in this chapter. I hesitate to use the word “pun”, since I personally don’t find them funny (and I love puns – even the groaners).

Re-member. He uses this word for its conventional meaning at first, but then adds the hyphen to support his notion that God is reunified by the intellectual understanding and acceptance by his parts as to whence they came. This play on the word may only work in English. The etymology of the word ‘remember‘ is from Latin, re- means “again” and memorari to “be mindful of”. This is a different word than the Latin for ‘member‘, membrum, which refers to a part of the body.

Re-mind. This play on words may be more legitimate, because remind does mean to ‘make mindful again’. It is from the word ‘mind‘ which can be a verb or a noun (e.g. “being of one mind” to express agreement).

Sole/Soul Purpose. This one also works in English, but the relationship breaks down etymologically. “Sole” in this sense refers to “one” or “single”, from the Latin solus; but the Latin word for “soul” is anima, that which animates the body. The modern use of ‘soul‘ is a product of Old English. Besides, the word ‘spirit‘ (from the Latin “spiritus”, the life-giving breath that animates all creatures, at least physically) is used interchangeably and is also the root in other languages (e.g. espirit in Old French and l’esprit in modern French). Even ‘ghost‘, from the Old English gast and seen in the German equivalent geist, implies the concept of breath. It is a serious stretch to make any real linguistic connection between ‘sole’ and ‘soul’ in this manner.

In-Sight. This one was introduced in the section on understanding the laws of the universe through meditation. In this case, meditation is introspective, so not only does this meditation provide understanding, the traditional usage of the word insight, but it causes the true self to be in sight, as in visible in front of you.

Emotion. Walsch uses this word as a contraction for “energy in motion”, directly connected with the New Age concept of the law of attraction. That is to say, love and fear (Walsch’s polar emotions) naturally attract things and events. Positive thinking automatically produces positive outcomes.

Always/All Ways. The first chapter ends with God’s invitation to Walsch to ask him anything he wishes to know, but God also warns him that the answer may come in any form: in music, a news article, the sounds of nature, etc. If Walsch is receptive, God states, “I will show you then that I have always been there. All ways.” (p. 58)

Other Observations

Indemnity Clause. The point of the book is to convince the reader that he has power over his destiny, that one may change one’s place in the universe instantly if one wills it to be so. Revisiting the premise above, Walsch laments his ill fortune and blames God, begging to know why things are as they are. God’s answer: it’s all you, man.

“No, not all the things which you call bad…are of your own choosing. [But,] they are all of your own creation.” (p.35)

“The first step in changing anything is to know and accept that you have chosen it to be what it is. […] Seek then to create change not because a thing is wrong, but because it no longer makes an accurate statement of Who you Are.” (p. 36)

Acceptance of a situation and wanting to change circumstances are not intrinsically problematic, but the anticipated outcome and ultimate purpose behind this approach is:

“If you wish to be accurately re-presented, you must work to change anything in your life which does not fit into the picture of you that you wish to project into eternity.” (p. 36)

But what if one employs the teachings of this book and things don’t get better (or get much worse)? Well, don’t forget that everyone else also has power over their destinies, so it’s really the collective that matters. Go with the flow, man. Or, better yet, team up and boil a big pot of consciousness that promotes the common good. If you aren’t a team player, then shake it off and move on with your own life.

“These events are created by the combined consciousness of man. All of the world, co-creating together, produces these experiences. What each of you do, individually, is move through them, deciding what, if anything, they mean to you, and Who and What You Are in relationship to them.” (p. 37)

Moral Relativism. In his homily for the Mass for the Election of the Roman Pontiff (April 18, 2005), Cardinal Ratzinger (who became Pope Benedict XVI) warned against the “dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.” Walsch holds the opposite perspective:

“‘Rightness’ or ‘wrongness’ is not an intrinsic condition, it is a subjective judgment in a personal value system.” (p. 48)

“I have never set down a ‘right’ or a ‘wrong’, a ‘do’ or a ‘don’t’. To do so would be to strip you completely of your greatest gift — the opportunity to do as you please and experience the results of that…” (p. 39)

Note, this is not consequentialism, because consequences cannot be interpreted as good or bad. They have no meaning in this system unless the are not experienced. Thus, hypothetically, a torturous serial killer is doing exactly what he is supposed to be doing so long as his experience helps him remember Who He Is and understand What He Wants To Be. His victims can also glean rich benefits from this experience.

Crime & Punishment. According to Judeo-Christian teaching, the punishment for disobedience of God is separation from God. Temporal punishment originally included the loss of certain protections (labor, birth pangs, etc.), the summation of which is stylized in the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Eternal punishment is the permanent separation of a person’s soul from the presence of God after it has been separated from the body at death. Walsch’s opinion:

“There are those who say that I have given you free will, yet these same people claim that if you do not obey Me, I will send you to hell. What kind of free will is that?” (p. 39)

What Walsch spins here is the purpose of free will. To him, the purpose is that free will allows us to experience all that we need to experience; therefore, it has no limits. Judeo-Christian teaching, in contrast, is that God granted the gift of free will so that we may choose to love him; thus, it holds that we are capable of acting in a way that expresses the opposite (despite what we profess) and this we call sin.

Returning to the notion that eternal separation from God is the ultimate punishment — and we choose that outcome for ourselves as well, so we aren’t just “sent” there — Walsch replaces the Christian understanding as follows:

“[Hell] is the experience of the worst possible outcome of your choices, decisions, and creations…the natural consequence of any thought that denies Me, or says no to Who You Are in relationship to Me…the opposite of joy…unfulfillment…knowing Who and What You Are, and failing to experience that…being less” (p. 40)

So, the only unforgivable sin is the denial that you are God, or at least a part of the It, the same stuff as God. This stands in stark contrast against the notion that the only unforgivable sin is the refusal to repent, for this relies on recognition of God as creator and an ultimate authority over the soul.

“I tell you there is no such experience after death as you have constructed in your fear-based theologies.” (pp. 40-41)

“…it is not My plan that you shall be separated from Me forever and ever. Indeed, such a thing is an impossibility — for to achieve such an event, not only would you have to deny Who You Are — I would have to as well.” (p. 41)

“You are your own rule-maker. You set the guidelines. And you decide how well you have done…No one else will judge you ever.” (p. 41)

“What seems like punishment to you — or what you would call evil, or bad luck — is nothing more than a natural law asserting itself.” (p. 42)

The third quote above brings us back to moral relativism.

Prime Directive. Perhaps Walsch is a big fan of Star Trek, or perhaps the 1960’s sci-fi series embodied a sufficient level of New Age thought (or just maybe I’m reading a little too much into things), but Walsch’s God appears to adhere to some form of the Prime Directive:

“[Jesus] did not perform a random healing. To have done so would have been to violate a sacred Law of the Universe: Allow each soul to walk its path.” (p. 47)

“I will do nothing for you that you will not do for your Self.” (p. 50)

Rush Lyrics. The song and this book are from the same school of thought:

“Not to decide is to decide.” (p. 50)

“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” –Freewill, by Rush

Relationships (Generic). Walsch’s God explains something very interesting about relationships. “The Triune Truth is recognized in life’s subtle relationships by everyone dealing with such relationships”. (p. 30) He cites Father/Son/Spirit, superconscious/conscious/subconscious, mind/body/spirit, thought/word/deed and past/present/future as examples (p. 31; to which I might add id/ego/superego…he may have mentioned this elsewhere in the book, now that I think about it). “In matters of gross relationships, you recognize no ‘in-between.’ That is because gross relationships are always dyads [yin yang again], whereas relationships of the higher realm are invariably triads.” (p. 31) If this notion is from Eastern tought, I have not yet discovered it. It may be another appeal to Christian/Western thought.


Conversations With God

Filed under: Book Reviews,New Age — Brandon @ 10:08 am
Tags: , ,

Home > My Research > Eastern Philosophy & New Age > Conversations With God


Conversations With God is a book series, a movement, and a now a foundation created by Neale Donald Walsch. Walsch embraces and preaches New Age thought. At least two of my friends – one of whom I count amongst my dearest friends – are ensnared by this man and his teachings. I am compelled to understand what they find so captivating about it; so, with caution and prayers for protection against false teaching, I read and I record my notes here.


Book 1 (1995)
Chapter 1 + TOC
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14

Eastern Philosophy & New Age

Home > My Research > Eastern Philosophy & New Age


The New Age Movement, though I am by no means a follower, had a profound impact on my early life. As I study it, I see more and more of its influence on our popular culture. I have friends ensnared by it. While it is a Western movement, it borrows heavily from Eastern mystical thought, including Buddhism, Hinduism, and the like.


Yoga
Conversations With God
The Enneagram
Star Wars


Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.